No, not that one. I'm not anonymous by choice, just don't have much to say that hasn't been already said or adds any value. But I started a blog to mostly discuss/share my music interests, but wrote down some thoughts and since it was hockey related, I thought I'd post it here. Long time listener, first time caller here.
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Overall the playoffs have been very entertaining. Obviously the best of the series are those with pre-existing rivalries (see: Boston/Montreal, Philadelphia/Pittsburgh, Anaheim/San Jose). In my opinion, more so than in other sports, rest (but not too much) between series is an advantage. It's an opportunity to get healthy, rest, and plan for your next opponent. It'll be interesting to see which teams with the early edge in this first round will be able to close out the series in 4 or 5 games versus 6 or 7.
Usually with changes in policy with the NHL there is some impetus for the change (whether it be rule changes or warnings to teams). So it's a little puzzling for Colin Campbell's recent warning and enforcement of "statement infractions" at the end of games. Why is this year different? And why the playoffs? End of game skirmishes, fights, etc. also occur in the regular season. And why should it be any different if it happens at the end of the first period versus the end of game?
Milan Lucic just got handed down a suspension for such an offence. Dan Carcillo received one as well. I think it's just a poorly defined policy that invites just way too much opportunity for criticism. People weren't really complaining about this, it wasn't like this was a hot button issue around the league. How do you define "end of game" (5 mins left?) what if it's 5-1 with 10 mins left? Does that count? He's taking away an opportunity for a team to stand up for itself and say you got us this game, but we're gonna come at you and aren't backing down and will be ready next game. Hopefully the actions by the league will lessen as the playoffs progress.
Rangers (2) - Capitals (0):
Two teams I don't like and root against, but I'm glad Rangers are up in this series. Capitals actually scare me because they have the best player in hockey (Ovechkin), a good offense, a decent defense. And if you have a mind cramp or don't put in 100% effort (two of the Flyers' current maladies), they'll make you pay. So I'd like to see them get eliminated. Right now Lundqvist is playing great in goal for the Rangers, and has stolen the series so far. However, on the other side Varlamov is a rookie goaltender getting his first shot and played very well in game two. If he can continue to play at that level, then I think the Capitals will get right back in this series.
Bruins (2) - Canadiens (0):
Haven't gotten to see much of this series. I've liked the Bruins ever since they took it to the Canadiens in last years playoffs. There's really not much to not like with the Bruins. They were able to make some deadline deals that will pay dividends in the playoffs in my opinion. Their only real weakness as I see it is depth on defense. While it's good to see Price slowly get back his legs and play much better than he did after he first came back from injury, he just needed to do it a little sooner to get himself ready for the playoffs. There's just been too many distractions this year for the Canadiens. One thing that should worry Canadien fans is whether Kovalev will step up his game and dominate like he's capable of doing, or whether he'll mail in performances like he's equally capable of doing. I think the Bruins are one team who will take advantage of their lead and close it out in 4 or 5 games.
Devils (2) - Hurricanes (1):
Have not seen this series at all so won't say much here. You got to give the advantage to the Devils up 2-1 because they have Brodeur. I would not bet against Brodeur in deciding games, so for me the question really is can the Devils get meaningful contributions from their 2nd-4th lines. If so, I like them here.
Penguins (2) - Flyers (1):
This could have been (and probably should have been) a 2-1 series advantage for the Flyers. I could throw out the whole Flyers have a reputation and get officiated differently than other teams because of that argument. But I won't in this case. The frustrating thing wasn't necessarily that Penguins got a 5-3 advantage in OT of a playoff game! but that the refs need to do a better job with consistency. Even in today's game it was evident. Kunitz' hit on Timonen was a charging penalty (had his elbow up) and should've been called. But I might be glad that it wasn't because it got the Flyers fired up and off their heals. At any rate, later in the third period a questionable call on Mike Richards for slashing and then a questionable call on the Pens for hooking were called. It affects both teams, it's not homerism, it just needs to be consistent and I'll accept a little biased refereeing.
Today's game was an incredibly entertaining game. Hope the rest of them are like that. People seem to think that the Flyers should slow it down, tighten the game up and use their physical advantage. That may have been true in the past, but I feel they are a better team when they open it up a little bit (so long as they make smart decisions with the puck and don't try to do too much). This series will be close and I don't want to jinx anything with a prediction.
Western Conference thoughts to come....
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